Finding Mirrors

As a cityscape photographer, reflections are very important key elements for me (or everyone?). I always seek them and try to include one for my composition.

A reflection can turn an ordinary subject into an extraordinary one. Also reflections give famous landmarks or unique architectures, which have been captured by many, much unique perspectives. Let’s pay attention to reflections around the subject which can make your photo different from others.

So where can you find reflections?

1.Windows (and glasses)

There are no shortage of windows in the city. There is a building, it has windows. A well polished windows work like  mirrors.

Black Mirror by Yoshihiko Wada on

Fukoku-seimei building, Osaka, Japan
Nikon D800E, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
16stops(10stops+6stops) 300seconds exposure.
165mm Firecrest ND for with Lucroit 165mm system for ultra-wide lenses

The windows made abstracted  pattern across the street.

Black Glass by Yoshihiko Wada on

Fukoku-seimei building, Osaka, Japan
D7000,AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
Firecrest 16 Filter (77mm), 200 seconds exposure

A well designed architecture, especially having many glasses, has many vantage points. When you are capturing an unique architecture, examine the architecture before settle your tripod.


There is a point where you can shoot a perfect (virtually ) symmetry. To get a better symmetric image, you need to close the windows as much as you can. when you find a nice reflection on the window, you should make one step  further for the building.

Twilight Mirror by Yoshihiko Wada on

Twilight Mirror,D600,AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR,No Filter

From the Observation floorUmeda Sky building , I shot this with the lens actually touching the window.

ATTACK ON HARUCAS by Yoshihiko Wada on



S.O.D  sense of dimension:Ⅰ by Yoshihiko Wada on


Tokyo International Forum: actually the original image was upside down.


S.O.D sense of dimension:Ⅲ by Yoshihiko Wada on




A non-reflective surface such as brick can still enhance a composition when a mirrored surface reflects onto it. In this circumstances the texture of the wall can compliment or accentuate reflected light.

TRANSCENDENCE by Yoshihiko Wada on

[Transcendence]Nikon D600
AF-S NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
Firecrest 16 Filters, 300seconds exposure.

The reflection of the Trance America Pyramid was only partial, but it gave the photo a far more unique perspective than simply shooting the architecture.


Distorted Reality by Yoshihiko Wada on

[Distorted Reality]Nikon D800E, AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED,
16stops(10stops+6stops) 300seconds exposure,
165mm Firecrest ND for with Lucroit 165mm system for ultra-wide lenses

The mottled texture of the wall on the left gave the reflection a softer appearance. 

3. water

I especially love reflections in water. You can find these on a lake, a river, the sea, even in a puddle. Long exposures with a sky reflected in water can give an especially powerful effect.

Between The Eternity by Yoshihiko Wada on

[Between the Eternity]Nikon D800E
PC-E NIKKOR 24mm f/3.5D ED
Firecrest 16 Filters, 180seconds exposure.

Long exposure made the water surface super flat. 


Alone in the Darkness by Yoshihiko Wada on

[Alone in the Darkness]神戸・会下山トンネル, Egeyama-tunnel, Koube, Japan

This old river tunnel was closed many years ago however is opened once a year for the public. 




Some Japanese traditional gardens were so well designed that you can find easily a perfect symmetry on the water surface.

Sacred Fall

Water falls matches new green

When I just started photography, my obsession was taking waterfalls.

I visited many waterfalls, and this one is my favorite place; “Mifune no Taki”.

Recently,CAMERAPIXO released their new issue, and they picked my previous pic(below) . I remembered I have many unpublished pics from there, so I developed some of them.


Sacred Fall : D800E, 16-35mm f/4G VR, 2sec


Location: Kawakami,Nara prefecture

Mifune waterfall (御船の滝)


D800E, 24-70(34mm)



D800E, 24-70, 50mm



D800E, 70-200VR2(135mm)


The lower part of the fall.


D800E, 70-200VR2(70mm)


This one was originally I posted as a b&w. go link to 500px.


D800E, 70-200vr1(125mm)


Monochrome really suited the waterfall.


D800E, 24-70(56mm)



D800E, 16-35(17mm)

Now the time I have to go back to the dusty city area, calculated chaos.

See you soon!


The best 5 architectures in Tokyo

Tokyo has no shortage of unique architectures.
You never be dismissed wherever you go, but I’ll introduce some of them just in case you are too indecisive to choose.


The highest newly rival “TOKYO SKY TREE” is much popular these days.
However don’t forget the ever time icon Tokyo Tower.
Capturing a famous icon with a unique way is always challenging, but still you have some room for it. I’d tried with my way, so you should.

 2.Cocoon Tower

The official name of the architecture is “Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower“, which is educational facility run by Mode Gakuen.


AWAKE by Yoshihiko Wada

It’s not fully opened for visitors, but just looking for its unique exterior, you actually don’t need to enter the facility.

Different Kind

DIFFERENT KIND by Yoshihiko Wada

3.Tokyo Metropolitan Government

We Japanese call it “Tocho” in short.
It’s  a massive and gigantic  architecture. It looks like a fortress.
However security was not so strict that you can use your tripod or ND filters for long exposures.
Designed by Kenzo Tange.



4.Debeers Ginza

The building is curved and distorted, not by an natural disaster but was designed so.
Ginza is a very fashionable district, your wife or girlfriend are happy to come with you to “De Beers“. Just take care not to inside the building with them.


5.Hakozaki Junction

Junctions are the last resorts for people who are get tired of shooting popular sites.
Hakozaki is the most popular, chaotic look of junction, and there are many attractive siblings nearby.
I’m sure just try to visiting all the junctions, your time in Tokyo would be gone.
Do you want to know more about Hakozaki? Please check my old post.





Change the feel

What color do you like?

Beside genuine black and white, I prefer syan colors, i.e.  blue.
I some time modify the color when I want give my images an additional feel.


This is the famous tower “Tokyo Skytree” in Tokyo, Japan. I was initially making this as a genuine black and white image, but just before I was about to publish it, I felt that something was missing.


OUT OF THE BLUE (B&W version)

I modified the tone curve and I found the bluish tone much fit the image.

Comparing with the original black and white version, how do you feel differently from both images?

The way to change the tone

RGB color curve

The easiest way to modify the tone is using  RGB color curve.

 graduated filter

If you don’t want to modify the entire of your image, use graduated filter. You’ve already familiar with  the graduated filter when you want to darken the sky, haven’t you?


Split Toning

you can also use “Split Toning” when you can add another subtle tone to the highlight (or shadow). Remeber, this modify the whole highlights on your image.If you want to editing more precisely, more tiny space  on your image, you’d better  to go to Photoshop.

Split toning


My “NEO OSAKA” was made by this filter techniques with much more precise manner.

The basic image was blue toned B&W image, then I added 4 different colors where I want to add.Especially I gave windows of center buildings color “yellow” in order to give the image subtle warm feeling.



There are various ways to change the tone. Just use them, play with them!

Experiment gains your experience. That’s what I always do.


Neo Osaka: Back to the Central (sin city version)



Sacred Gate

Tori-i 鳥居

The monument called “鳥居”(Tori -i)can be seen many places in Japan. They are mostly  gateways as the entrance to a Shinto shrine.The monument signs us “from here you are going to enter the sacred area”.

Its symbolic and photogenic appearance are popular for tourists.

Thousands of Tori-i, Kyoto:Fushimi Inari-taisha(京都 伏見稲荷大社)

Fushimi Inari-taisha, Kyoto, is the most famous and popular destination. They have more than 5,000 tori-i (less than 10,000?) are standing in the line. The tori-i tunnels is simply amazing. Any companies or any individuals donate some amount of money in order to  build their own tori-i with their name on it. So the total number of tori-i in there is keep going up nowadays.

RED GATES by Yoshihiko Wada on


Miyajima, Hiroshima prefecture (厳島,広島)

Miyajima(宮島) is also a popular sight. I visited there  the last summer with my family.
Allow me for showing you some snap shots from there.


Kami-iso no Tori-i(神磯の鳥居), O-arai, Ibaraki(茨城県大洗)

Let me introduce one of the famous “Tori-i” location”Kamiiso-no-Torii”, Oarai, Ibaraki, prefecture.

Since my home town is pretty nearby the location, I visit there in every new year holiday.

the sunrise on New Year’s day

In Japan it is celebrated as the first crack of dawn once a year,so lots of people visit to see the sunrise on New Year’s day. The location is so popular for the beautiful sunrise that many, so, sooou many people come to see the place throughout the night to dawn.If you want to visit there to shoot, you have better to avoid the January 1st, or you just hold your camera without the tripod in the crowded people.
I always visit there the 2nd day, January. Still there were so many photographers, but I can assure that you can find one or two spots for your tripod.



Since I’d visited there many times before I wanted to try different method: Panorama.

You can find How to make panorama picturesanywhere in the Web,  so just let me show you the “before and after”.

Actually panorama method is not good for a closed seascape because sea stacks can be the  hindrance for smooth transition of stitching. However “long exposure” can solve the problem.

Below are 9 raw shots , before stitching panorama:

Tech info:D600, 70-200 f4(70mm),f9, 30seconds for each shot.

After stitching (rough edit):

The long exposure flattened the sea stacks, transition of the border of  each images were greatly done.


The above is the just before the sunrise, and I was keep shooting for another version of panorama:

Tech info:D600, 70-200 f4(70mm),f9, 1/3 seconds for each shot.

result ( finished version)


This time the transition was much harder but I blended the sea stacks manually and carefully for acquiring the  natural look.  Bellow is the right half of the  above, which original file has still around 6000×12000 pixels.


Godsend by Yoshihiko Wada on 500px


I visited the location the next day and tried some long exposures.


302sec,f8,iso100,24mm used by Firecrest 16 filter.



Yomi by Yoshihiko Wada on 500 px

I wish you got curious about the monument and will shoot “your” version of a tori-i images. Bye!


Do you care about the title of your image seriously?

I do.  Since titles are important aspect of my images,

I don’t publish my images until a proper title has given to the image.

Meaning of “untitled”

You may argue that an “untitled” gives people some room to think about freely toward the image. If your intention is that manner, “untitled” is probably OK, otherwise you are just lazy to think about your  title of image.


Title changes the world

A title changes the perspective.



“UNTITLED” : D600,28mm f10,183sec.

This is a pretty simple long-exposure seascape : one main rock and a few small rocks above.

What the title will you give it?

How about  “the rock “?

You may think “I know! it’s a rock. so what?”
They stop thinking about the image with a obvious material name.

How about “The nose“?

You’re gradually seeing the rock as a nose sticking from the surface, aren’t you?

Instead of giving an obvious material name, how about the title:

[Solitude], [time], [calmness], [infinity]

The subject is so simple that you can chose many options.

Guide people

Giving those title viewers will think about the title, and trying to find something in common with the creator.

With a proper title you can guide viewers to the specific direction.

Just give it “rock” or “untitled”. They just wonder where they should go.

They want to feel something from your work as same as when you saw the scene.

We call it”sympathy”. A proper title can arouse their sympathy

How to make a good title

Tell me!!  I eager to know.

Since English is not my native tongue, making a good English title is always challenging.

So I prefer simple and short titles combining with a few words

Soak in Marsahll by Yoshihiko Wada on

Soak in Marshall: To get ideal composition which I wanted, I had to soak in the beach.

Use thesaurus

You often see the title “The beautiful sunset” or “Sunset at the lake” etc.

“Sunset” and “sunrise” are so obvious term that you may avoid using them, and instead you can use a synonym, like:

synonym of “Sunset”

They are still popular terms, however you can combine them with simple words or locations.


“The last twilight”, ” Twilight to the shadow”, “Night fall at Tokyo”

I am not a poet or didn’t major English literature, so please allow me for poor vocabulary.

You can do far better than me with in any other language.


Borrow the titles from a movie or a music

Fortunately or unfortunately there are no property right for titles.

That means you can borrow or steel titles from movies, books and musics, etc..

Although you have to bear in mind that a popular title instantly recall viewers of the original source if they knew it. So please take a moment whether the image really match the title which you are going to take.

So I advise you that instead of using the title as exactly the same,  just give it a little twist.


I borrowed the title of image from the movie “EVIL DEAD”(not recent remake, but the original) , then I replaced “dead” to “red”.
The atmosphere of the image fully match the title doesn’t it?

Love it

I feel pretty sorry when I see a great image with the title “untitled”.

Because you are the only one who can give the right title to your images.

You should not abandoned it with giving the name”untitled”.

You don’t name your son “John Doe” or “Mr. Nobody”, do you?

Treat your images like your son or daughter. Give them proper name which

you love, then people will love them too.


Between the Eternity


In to the Future

Happy new year everyone!!
2015 was pretty good year for me, I had so many positive response for my works and had chance to express my creativity freedom. I hope 2016 will be better than ever, and I know it depends on me. Of course I’m going to  work hard, but not too hard, and enjoy the every moment and process of capturing a photo and making an art.

Anyway, my first blogging in2016, Let me introduce my favorite, the favorite place in Tokyo; Tokyo international forum.

from Wikipedia: The Tokyo International Forumis a multi-purpose exhibition center in Tokyo, Japan.One of its halls seats 5,000. In addition to seven other halls, it includes exhibition space, a lobby, restaurants, shops, and other facilities. Designed by architect Rafael Viñoly and completed in 1996, it features swooping curves of steel truss and glass; the outside is shaped like an elongated boat.

Anyway, it’s a gorgeous place!! without no description. It’s so popular place that NIKON put an image from there on their D5200, and D5300 for there leaflets.

Don’t forget to bring a ultra wide lens!!  bellow images are comparison images between 10-24mm(DX) and Full size, 14-24mm(FX) at almost the same place and composing. You can see its difference of distortion and perspective between both sensor sizes.



Underground of Tokyo is a huge maze!! It’s so convenient that you can visit namely everyplace without got rained ,and for a vampire  who hates sunshine . But for a tourist, you may lost in there. if you got lost, just go outside. It’s much easier to access to your destination.


Once you got into the place, it’s your playground. I’m sure you can spend t hours to shoot various attractive spots.

 ● Before and After


Day or night?

I recommend to visit there both time period: Day and Night. The place will show you different aspect of beauty. The last time I visited there, I visited evening, unfortunately the place was under refurbishing: The huge sealing was covered with nets.

Still, I could enjoying t shoot its futuristic both  inside and outside.

Exterior at night (all images are 3 bracketed HDR images developed by LightRoom6)


Corner of the SIDE7 part1


Corner of the SIDE7 part2


Corner of the SIDE7 part3

When you have a chance to visit Tokyo, don’t miss the place.


Just go and grab a great architectural image as your souvenirs.


RUSH by Yoshihiko Wada